There are two minimum requirements of any “online” accessible Business website.
1. A Web Hosting Server
A computer connected to the internet that stores the files and information that make up your website. Every server has an IP address. This IP address is what allows browsers and other computers to differentiate and locate your websites information.
An ip address is made up of numbers: e.g. 253.16.44.27
2. A Domain Name
The Domain Name System is used to associate easily recognizable terms to the ip address of web servers.A domain name is made up of three parts.e.g. www.ihostpress.com www. is a subdomain , although it is commonly considered to be an essential part of world wide web addresses, it is in fact not required to properly associate a domain and a web server.
ihostpress is a second level domain
.com is a top level domain
The second and top level domain must be registered and purchased.
Subdomains are controlled by the owner of the domain name and can be used to create organized sub sections of their overall site.
e.g. howto.ihostpress.com ( a collection of video tutorials for hosting customers)
Selecting the best domain name
Proper domains selection strategy follows two distinct methodologies and purposes.
When you have an established brand or name it is important to own the domain name that matches it.
e.g. Apple.com, Microsoft.com, TonysPizza.com
This is the most intuitive way for your existing customers to find you.
Search Engine Optimization:
It is also wise to own and control terms that your customers are likely to use in order to “search” for the service you provide.
Using the “TonysPizza” example:
The owner of Tony’s Pizza might be wise to own “Pizza12601″
search term + location zip
The best choices for such terms often require some background research and an understanding of your target market.
“The Radio Rule“
It is wise to select a domain name that can be easily “said”
Imagine, your ad is being spoken on the radio and your domain name is said or spelled. Will it stick in the listeners mind?
Traditionally, avoiding difficult spelling and awkward / cutesy misspellings is wise although many businesses have been built by finding short available domain names and building brands around them i.e. Flickr.com
Should I buy a .com , does the Top Level Domain (TLD) matter?
There are many, many options regarding top level domains that can be registered. Some are limited to certain organizations, regions and types of businesses.
The most commonly known by your target viewers are .com, .net, .org
Search engines do not (at this time) give any special considerations based on the TLD.
There are some minor price variations for yearly registration among the various Top Level Domains.
But, because most visitors and “type-in” domain searches will based on the common association of .com to all web addresses, it is wise to pursue a .com address whenever possible. (and relevant)
(exception) In certain fields the .pro TLD domain is showing to have some benefits to eligible parties.
Domain Cost and Registration
Through our business at iHostpress.com, Sunforged Media Group is an ICANN certified Domain Registar and Reseller (all domains are purchased through the ICANN governing body)
We can provide .com addresses at $15 yearly. (managed purchase)
BUT – The domain industry has a handful of top and long established sellers that can greatly beat our prices and often provide coupon codes for even greater discounts. They can undercut smaller sellers by making up costs with mostly useless add-ons such as “certified” domains and email packages.
As a result of the better price options and the relative lack of distinction between Domain registrants we suggest the following two companies:
Normal price per year at Godaddy is currently $11.99 per year – with some price decrease for multiple year registration.
Using the above link, you will find that your final cost is $7.99 per year.
When registering be sure to skip all the suggested add-ons and upsells they push.
Its is NOT a bad idea to register your domain for 2-5 year stints if you have an established brand. There is some evidence that search engines “trust” a domain that is registered for multiple years more than a single year registration (possible SPAM indicator)
The Namecheap registration cost is about $10.69, but they provide a free year of domain privacy.
Established businesses with public address information do not require privacy, but often those who work primarily online prefer the anonymity of domain privacy, traditionally this service can cost between $5 and $15 a year among the various providers.
Should I “protect my name” by purchasing various versions (TLD) of my domain.
Registering an existing trademarked brand is an actionable offense. If you have a Brand name where you reason to be concerned about copycats or parasites hwo might attempt to gain traffic or customers by using your brand, it may be easier to simply register the common variants of your name or be prepared to cover the legal costs associated with combating a “domain hijack”
The great majority of smaller businesses should have no need to buy multiple versions of their address.
If you are using a keyword based domain:
then you would have no legal protection if a competing agency or company attempted to utilize your brand name to siphon visitors. In such a case, the decision should be based on your budget, peace of mind and the skill of your search engine optimization and marketing team.